Skip to main content

Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

See other formats

MUSK PODS                                       301

century It was so common that the traveller Tavemier purchased.
*76V3 musk "pods" In one journey, or, according to Buffon,
1663. The tusks, which recall those of Hydropotes, to which
MoscTtus is not nearly allied, and of Tragulus, with which
It has of course still less connexion, are said to be used for the
digging up of roots. Its feet., in relation to its mountain-ranging
habits, are very mobile.
Extinct Species of Deer.—It has been already mentioned
that the most primitive kinds of Deer had no horns at all,
resembling in this the modem Moschus and Mydropotes, and that
with lapse of time went hand in hand an Increasing complexity
of antler • the facts of palaeontology harmonising In the most
striking manner with the facts of individual development from
year to year. The oldest forms seem to be more nearly akin to the
living Muntjacs, and their remains occur In the lowest Miocene
beds of both Europe and America. At present the group Is
confined to the warmer parts of Asia and some of the islands
belonging to that continent.
One of the oldest types is A.mpTiitragul'u.s. This genus,
which consists of several species, inhabited Europe, and differed
from living Muntjacs in being totally hornless in both sexes;
the skull had no lachrymal fossa or deficient lateral ossification.
Nearly allied is Xfrewioth&riuTn, of similar age and range.
The Middle Miocene has furnished the remains of the genus
Dicroceras. This is the earliest Deer In which horns have been
found. The horns are, as the name of the genus implies, bifid,,
and have, like those of the living Muntjac, a very long pedicel.
This is also a European genus like the last. From this period
we come across true I>eer, which commence In the Tipper Miooene
and have branched horns. Moreover they belong, at least for
the most part, to the existing genera. One of the most remark-
able forms is Oervus sedgwieJci (sometimes placed in a separate
genus, Polycladus) from the Forest Bed of Norfolk and from the
Upper Pliocene of the Val d'Amo. This creature was remark-
able for its multitudlnously-branched antlers. These end In no
less than twelve points. No Deer exists or has existed In which
the horns are so completely branched. They are like those of a
Red Deer exaggerated.
Fam. 7. CMraffidae.—Undoubtedly the type of a distinct;
family, Giraffidae, is the genus Gfarajfa. It is characterised by